Medicare and VA coverage
If you qualify to receive VA (Veterans Administration) health benefits, turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you are not required to purchase Medicare’s Part B.
However, we always recommend that you do based on the following: (1) You may want to see a non-VA physician, which you cannot do without Part B. (2) Funds for VA benefits may change over the decades. (3) If you do NOT get Part B when first eligible and later want to enroll, you will have to wait until the general election period between January 1 and March 31 annually AND you will receive a penalty for late enrollment into Part B of Medicare.
Please give serious thought to not enrolling in Part B when receiving VA benefits.
How is Tricare for Life Different than VA Coverage?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) covers only veterans—those who once served in the military but have now separated from active duty or retired veterans who also meet certain eligibility and health criteria.
TRICARE, under the Department of Defense, is a civilian network providing health care benefits for active duty service members, National Guard/reserve members, and their families when services cannot be provided at a military treatment facility.
Military retirees and their families also are eligible for TRICARE.
Do I Need Medicare if I Have VA Coverage?
Long story short, you don’t HAVE to get and pay for Medicare’s Part B.
However if you would like to use non-VA services, you will need to have Part B.
We recommend enrolling into Medicare's Part B with VA benefits to avoid possible headaches in the future.
What is CHAMPVA?
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care benefits program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.
How Does VA Coverage work with Drug Coverage? (Part D)
VA drug coverage IS considered creditable drug coverage so you may elect NOT to enroll into a Part D plan.
However, if you find that the VA drug plan doesn’t meet all of your needs, you may have to wait for the Annual Election Period (every Fall) to sign up for a Part D plan that might cover different medications better.